Why E10 petrol costs you more at the pumps and is your car compatible?

E10 petrol has been the standard grade of unleaded petrol in the UK since September 2021. It contains up to 10 percent bioethanol, which is distilled from plant matter and is therefore considered to be more environmentally friendly than 100 percent oil-based fuel.

But since its wholesale introduction, there have been concerns among motorists and motorist groups that E10 isn’t as efficient as its predecessors, and our cars will therefore need to use more of it to cover the same distance – at a time when fuel prices are at an all-time high .

Fuel prices have soared to record highs in 2022, with statistics from data company Experian Catalist showing that the average cost of a liter of petrol at UK petrol stations was 168.2p on Wednesday 18 May. That was up from 167.6 pence per liter on May 19.

Meanwhile, diesel prices hit an average of 181.0p per liter, up from 180.9p the previous day.

Initial fears that it could damage the engines of certain cars, especially classic ones, were also unfounded.

For those who still fill up regularly, it might be worth taking a look at the economy of E10 petrol – we answer your key questions below.

Can my car have E10 petrol?

According to the Depart for Transport (DfT), all petrol cars produced since 2011 are compatible with E10 and at least 95 percent of the petrol-powered vehicles on the road can drive with it safely. It adds that most cars and motorcycles made since the late 1990s have also been approved by manufacturers to use E10.

According to the government, the exceptions appear to be classic cars and older vehicles (at least 40 years and older) and certain models built in the early 2000s. Mopeds under 50cc also appear to be most at risk.

If your vehicle is said not to be compatible, it is usually possible to run it on premium lead rather than the regular variety (see below) or to use a fuel additive.

You can use our E10 vehicle checker to check whether your vehicle is approved for the use of E10 petrol.

To find out if your mode of transport is compatible, use the Department of Transportation’s testing tool, which covers cars, motorcycles, and mopeds.

What is the problem with E10 and is it better than E5?

Concerns about the efficiency of the fuel were immediate, with the AA claiming that this alone would increase fuel costs by about 1.6 percent.

Because ethanol has an energy density that is about a third lower than that of pure petrol. In the United States, research by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed a three to four percent reduction in fuel consumption when using E10 compared to pure oil-based gasoline.

Cars with smaller engines are likely to be hit the hardest. They were already at a disadvantage when E5 (containing up to 5 percent ethanol) was the regular gasoline blend, but doubling that ratio has made the difference even greater. Why E10 petrol costs you more at the pumps and is your car compatible?

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